Army officials to address coronavirus efforts at the Pentagon

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WASHINGTON —  The U.S. Army will give an update on the efforts to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the Pentagon briefing room Thursday. 

The officials are expected to discuss progress on the vaccination effort. The military said it’s working on a vaccine for the coronavirus with the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The flu-like virus — which has already killed nearly 3,350 people and infected roughly 96,800 people around the world — is emanating from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the largest of all geographic combatant commands.

Last month, the U.S. military said a soldier based in South Korea was the first service member to test positive for the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19. Earlier this week, the nation’s top military officer downplayed concerns about the virus, saying its impact within the U.S. military “is very, very minimal.”

“Right now the overall broad impact to the uniformed U.S. military is very, very minimal. It’s not to say that it’s zero, but it’s very minimal, very few cases diagnosed, etc.,” U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Monday during a Pentagon news briefing. 

“That’s not surprising because we have a young demographic, healthy demographic, lots of immunizations, so on and so forth,” he said, adding that the department has postponed joint military exercises on the Korean peninsula.

Milley also added that the coronavirus had not yet impacted the military’s global supply chain.

There have been at least 11 deaths in the United States from the coronavirus, according to the CDC and state health officials. 

The novel strain of coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province, has roiled markets and led governments to take drastic actions as it rapidly spreads across the globe.

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